Everyone has their own idea of cold.
In Morocco "cold" is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I missed winter and visited the pale blue skies of Africa and I fell in love. The people were as warm and welcoming as the land. The dirt ranged from fertile to crusty. I found myself wandering along the streets smelling scents I didn't know existed, tasting flavors I didn't realize I was missing and found people that made me feel welcome in a way I did not know possible.
I didn't want to leave the hills of the Riff mountains, the blue walls of Chefchaouen or my host family in Rabat. I know now that I will return someday, I want more time. For now, I will reflect on what I was able to take back with me.
The experience I had in Morocco was like turning the world up-si-down. It made me wonder, why is it we do the things we do they way we do them? For example, why do we all have our own plate when we eat? The dishes in Morocco are all shared, each person eats from a large plate of food, sometimes with a spoon, sometimes just hands. As an American, I was first a very confused, how do I do this? It seemed to be unnatural but it tasted so good-- the turmeric, black pepper, spices! I ate until I was mumtali (full).
The food was incredible but the people are the reason I want to go back. I have never felt so invited and comfortable around so many people. I visited the Hammam baths, naked and very unsure, I was washed clean in a room full of twenty or so woman. The water felt warm and refreshing. I have never felt so clean. The next day our school took us to the Riff mountains to a small village of 300 people. We were invited for a traditional lunch of couscous and and salad, all ingredients came from the mountain. After our meal we exchanged thoughts and ideas of how life was different between us, I thought perhaps they would dislike our American heritage. To my surprise the family said: "At the end of the day we are all human."
I have never known such understanding and kindness. This kindness extended down from the hills and into the villages. The streets were crowed and everything was in the open, it was a different sensation, I am unsure how to name it-- I left Morocco with a strange feeling, raw, real and bizarre.